I was talking to a friend today about the many places that Clean Language can be useful in the world of marketing. Helping the executives in a client company to come up with a fabulous creative brief, for example.
But what about working directly with ‘creatives’, who consider themselves masters of metaphor? Won’t they take offence at the suggestion that they need any assistance on the metaphorical side?
Well, yes, quite possibly. After all, creatives are famous for being touchy! But that doesn’t mean Clean Language isn’t useful when working with them.
Because to some extent, we are all the prisoners of the metaphors in our subconscious thinking. ‘Creatives’ may have greater flexibility than many people, but they still bump up against the limits of their own metaphors, and get stuck. And that’s when help to get beyond those limits can be valuable.
Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander explain the issue well in their new book Surfaces and Essences. They say: “Consciously crafted analogies owe their existence to spontaneous unconscious analogical links. This means that even when you think it’s you who are pulling the strings, the fact is that you are merely a puppet of whose strings you are unaware…
“Though we may tell More >
The world of software development is a fascinating place to me. So many highly-intelligent individuals; so many brilliant ideas; so many possible ways to change the world for the better; so much potential… for things to go wrong.
I’ve been involved with a fair few software projects over the years: at one time, that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. But I talked myself out of it – and nowadays I often talk to developers, analysts and project managers about how Clean Language can improve software development, and how they are using it in their specific contexts.
It seems to me that Clean Language can improve software development in five main ways:
- Clarity. It says a lot that the Clean Language Questions are called “the Clarifying Questions” in Dutch. The Clean Language Questions are excellent for establishing what people really mean by what they say – especially in circumstances where there’s lots of ambiguity, conflicting viewpoints, and scope for confusion. When a sales consultant is exploring a potential client’s needs, a business analyst needs to understand the detail of a particular use case, or a project manager the specifics of a work package, a well-placed Clean Language Question can More >
My friend James Tripp has just put out an excellent video about how to become a powerful hypnotist. And it strikes me that the key distinction he shares there applies just as much to learning Clean Language as to hypnosis.
“This could be the most significant and powerful thing that you have ever heard with regard to becoming a powerful hypnotist,” he says.
James goes on to explain a key difference between people who spend lots of time and money on learning hypnotism and get good at it, and those who spend time and money and don’t get good. It’s the difference between “information time” and “transformation time” (the terms apparently come from supercoach Steve Chandler).
“Information time” is for gathering lots of knowledge about your subject. “Transformation time” is for doing: for intense, conscious practice.
And when it comes to any skill, it’s transformation time that makes the difference.
How does this apply to Clean? Well, the principles of Clean Language are very simple: 12 questions, and some rules for when to ask what. There’s not much written material out there – at least, not compared to hypnosis, which has whole libraries of books about it. The “information time” people can spend has a natural More >